Eating Disorders

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    What It's Like to Lose a Friend You Met in Eating Disorder Treatment

    I live with an eating disorder. Since I was 13 years old, I’ve been battling anorexia and have been in and out of treatment centers. Currently, I see a psychiatrist, therapist, and nutritionist regularly to manage my eating disorder on the outpatient level, but I was in inpatient treatment again this past January through March. Back in 2019, I went into inpatient care at an eating disorder treatment center where I met a young woman who I became very close with. We both were working extremely hard to battle our eating disorders while trying to get as healthy as possible. She was one of the sweetest and most hard-working people I had ever met, and she became a huge inspiration to me. Unfortunately, I found out this past week this young woman passed away due to her eating disorder, and learning of her passing absolutely crushed me. Eating disorders are so stigmatized, and people always assume those who are “sickest” with an eating disorder look and act a certain way; but that was not the case with this young woman. She fought to her very last breath to fight her eating disorder and become healthy, but her heart couldn’t take it anymore. She was on a waiting list to be admitted into an acute eating disorder treatment center when she died in her sleep a mere five days before she was to be admitted into a higher level of care. Hearing of her death absolutely crushed me. I am still in shock that this woman who fought so hard could be taken by this terrible illness in the midst of her fight. I have never been more angry at eating disorders for taking away my friend, and her death has made me even more fearful for myself. I have always known that eating disorders can be fatal, but my friend’s death hit soclose to home now I can’t stop thinking about the danger of these illnesses. I am terrified for myself and my own struggle with anorexia, and unfortunately, the stress has caused me to struggle with even more intense anorexia symptoms. I feel as though I am a mess, and it is so hard to try and fight my own illness when I am grieving the death of my friend. Losing someone to an illness that you struggle with yourself can be incredibly daunting. For the past two weeks I feel like I have been having trouble functioning day to day, and I am plagued with nightly nightmares. I can’t stop thinking about my friend and the pain she experienced prior to her death. I am absolutely devastated by the loss of her. I feel like I don’t know how to keep going when I am struggling with such intense mourning that is affecting my ability to fight my illness, but I am thankful to have the support of my treatment team. I don’t know what I would do without them. With all that being said, I know I can still mourn my friend while continuing tofight this illness. Her death has brought me great sorrow and fear, but I also feel like I must keep fighting in her memory to get through this illness. Not a day goes by that I am not working hard to battle my anorexia, but I know that I also need to be kind to myself during this difficult time. I am so sad to have lost my friend, but her death has also urged me to fight this dangerous illness.

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